Allie is still fundraising HERE.
Thank you for your support!
What on Earth is Kiva?
Kiva.org is an incredible non profit that takes a unique approach to combat poverty. Kiva allows people like you and me to search for people to loan to on the Kiva website. Kiva then sends that money to the microfinance institution where the individual or group has applied for a loan. Then the people who receive the loans are able to use your money to build a better life for themselves and their families through hard work. Loans can be education loans (a year of school or books), farming loans (seeds or a cow), and business loans (thread, soap, a roof for a store). Microloans are cheaper and more accessible to local borrowers than other forms of capital. This also allows people to keep their dignity through work and through creating their own opportunities.
What is a Kiva Fellow?
A Kiva Fellow is an unpaid volunteer who works for Kiva for at least 4 months. Kiva Fellows are extremely important to making Kiva work because they are the link between the microfinance institution and Kiva's headquarters. The Kiva Fellows' program has allowed Kiva to work in 58 different countries!
Read more about the Fellows here.
Why are you doing this?
have been volunteering at Kiva because I'd like to leave this world a
better place. Im not sure whether this stems from girl scouts (always leave a place better off than you found it), or church (lots of service trips and projects connecting with people in need) or Wellesley (non ministrari sed ministrare, not to be served but to serve); but that is what I would like to do
with my life. My parents always reinforced the idea that no matter how difficult things were in this life, I would always have a place with them. I would like other people to build that same sense of security and hope for their families.
Kiva is important because of how our world looks today. We have almost 7 billion people in this world and over 5
billion live under $20,000/year and a billion live on less than 2
dollars a day. Can you even picture what a billion looks like? Or
what living on less than 2 dollars a day looks like?
I would like to have a career that focuses on sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and womens empowerment. I would like to see all of the current global imbalances reduced in order to have a more peaceful, productive, and happy world. Spending time volunteering with Kiva at headquarters and in the developing world is an incredible opportunity to work towards these goals.
Volunteering as a Kiva Fellow will allow me to explore the amazing benefits of microfinance and challenges that microfinance faces today. I am excited to use my talents to create constructive economic development and to gain a deeper understanding of microfinance.
I am supporting myself to pursue this opportunity and so I am asking for your help.
Where is the money going?I will be in the field for about 4 months. I will be primarily working at the microfinance institution's office. I will be using a phone and the internet to work as a liaison between Kiva in San Francisco and my microfinance office. I may be having to travel to go to an internet cafe to work on blog posts and other projects for Kiva. I will be going on small trips with the office for work. So $25, could be about a week of internet cafe fees or a trip or two to see clients, depending on how far away they live. A potential day as a Kiva Fellow could be a 3-5 hour trip by a bus, another bus or vehicle like a tuk-tuk, a truck, and a walk to a borrowers home or business. Then I would talk to the borrower about their loans, or Kiva, or any number of related topics before returning home or heading out to visit another borrower. .
My estimated budget is:
Immunizations: $598 (Japanese encephalitis, polio)
Internet for Kiva communications: $60/month
Cell phone: $40/month
Malaria pills: tbd
DEET and other bug protection: $27
Bed net: tbd
Travel guides and dictionary: tbd
My full fundraising goal is $6000.
Please note that this campaign is operated and monitored by Allie Cook, not Kiva.org. Kiva (Kiva Microfunds, LLC) and Allie Cook are two separate entities, and any donations will support Allie Cook's Fellowship not Kiva.org.
Where are you going?I am going to Cabanatuan City in the Philippines to work with ASKI.
I am going to the Philippines instead of South Africa or East Africa because the needs of Kiva and the organization meant that my skill set would have the greatest value and impact working with ASKI in the Philippines as opposed to one of our other partners around the world.
What's Next?Please share this with anyone who you think may be interested. Even $5 is a huge help!
Read up on what current Kiva Fellows are up to. I will be posting beginning in late May or early June!
Want to participate further in microfinance? Make a loan.
The Impact?Kiva Fellows allow Kiva to work in 58 countries. I will be working to ensure that the systems in place connecting Kiva and the microfinance institution are running smoothly. I will be creating content for the Kiva Fellows' blog. I will be also working on projects that allow Kiva to verify that your loans are having the positive social impact intended.
In Guatemala, I was able to meet a women's weaving cooperative who were able to grow their business through microloans. They reinvested their earnings into their children's education and built a medical dispensary for their community.
Why microfinance is so cool:
What strikes me in this diagram is how little the top triangle is to the rest of the triangle. If you're reading this - you're most likely at the top of the triangle. While microfinance does reach the "unbanked", who lack access to traditional financial services, it is also providing opportunities for economic growth and self-empowerment.